Two Photos. Two Stories. One Miracle.

Two photos. Two different stories. One miracle. When that photo with my Laura was taken last year, I was told I only had a few months to live. I only weighed 112 pounds, needed a voice amplifier to talk and was living off a feeding tube. The photo with the 700 miles sign, tells the story of a miracle. Two 10k’s run today=700 miles for 2020 and counting. God is good!!! ~OC

True Friendship

A few thoughts on True Friendship:

*True friends encourage you.
*True friends respect you.
*Tue friends support you.
*True friends stand by you.
*True friends reach out to you.

*True friends love you.
*True friends dance through the storms with you.

Obviously, this is just a small sample. Feel free to share your own list. ~OC

God’s Promises

God has promised to look after us…. to bring help. God, who defends us, who is far greater in strength than any storm life throws at us. God, who spoke and whose words caused the universe to be. His words are true and unfailing. If He promises something, He will deliver.~OC

How To Help

During my 17 year crazy beautiful health journey, I was often asked how people could help Laura and I. Here are a few suggestions:

Stay in Contact: Nothing brightens a patient’s day more than hearing from friends. It could be a phone call, visit or a simple text. Even when I could not eat or drink, I loved the interaction with friends. So never be afraid to call that loved one or friend. Also the doctors have shared keeping a person’s mind active is very important. So, when you are thinking about someone, take that opportunity to reach out to them. Do not miss out on a beautiful memory.

Remember to Check On The Caregiver: The caregiver can get lost during the journey. As my caregiver, Laura had the toughest job. Working full-time and taking care of me could be overwhelming. And remember, she did this for over 17 years. So, make sure you are asking about the caregivers physical, mental and emotional well-being. One of my main concerns during my journey, was that Laura take care of herself and enjoy life. A caregiver can always use a night out.

Don’t Start a Pity Party: Dealing with health issues is tough enough. At times people want to go crawl in a hole and isolate. Don’t let them do it. Offer some words of encouragement. Get them out of the house. Go make some memories. My journey was a tough one, but so many people had it tougher than me. Remember, a lady gave birth in a tree. True story!

Just listen: Sometimes hurting people just need someone to listen. Not to fix. Not to have all the answers. Just listening is a beautiful gift.

Be Flexible: The one thing about illness is everyday is different. My health issues bought new challenges each day. Sometimes each hour. So be flexible when dealing with a family member or friend struggling with health issues.

Learn About the Illness: Some people are dealing with illnesses we have never heard of, but asking questions and maybe a quick Google search can help. This can help you better support that loved one. Just don’t believe everything you read online.

Be Available: People dealing with health issues face different challenges. So be available to help when possible. That help could come in the form of bringing someone meals, sitting with someone during their treatment, visiting them in the hospital or transportation. For years, I could not drive based on my health issues. So, having rides to my appointments were important. I am thankful for my team of drivers during my journey. Getting out of the house and enjoying live is so important.

The Long Haul: Be there for your family and friends. Did I ever think my journey would last 17 years? No way! But what I learned was that some friends put an expiration date on how long they could endure my new normal. Having friends that have stuck it out and supported me has been a true blessing.

Acceptance: Stop comparing who someone was before they got sick, to the person they are now. Simply accept that who someone was and who they are now has changed. So when that family member or friend has a life changing experience, embrace the new them.

I hope this helps. There is really not a blueprint for this stuff. So don’t beat yourself up, if you say or do the wrong thing. The most important thing you can do is be present and engaged. ~OC

My Prayers and Thoughts

Good morning! So as I sit in this hospital room, here are some of my prayers and thoughts.

I pray my beautiful bride is resting and wakes up feeling great.

I pray that some dear family and friends who are sick, will experience complete healing.

I pray for all the Caregivers taking care of a loved one.

I pray The Holy Spirit will take over South Florida. Revival come!

I pray I will be the best husband, friend and disciple of Jesus that I can be through Him.

I pray for everyone in the military and all First Responders. And their families.

I pray for peace.

I pray for all the leaders. I pray their hearts and minds would be changed by God.

I pray for the victims of human trafficking. I pray they will be rescued and their lives will be completely restored. I pray for all the organizations fighting this horrible crime. I pray their needs will be met. Most importantly, I pray their hearts and motives are pure.

I pray for all churches, pastors, missionaries and ministries. May they truly be the hands and feet of Jesus.

I pray God will allow me to do more for everyone I come in contact with during the day.

I pray for all the patients, nurses, doctors and staff at Good Sam. Give each the strength they need today.

I pray for our schools, students, teachers, staff and administrators. I pray God would bless and protect each.

I pray I will not get in the way of what God wants to do in my life.

Here are some of the thoughts going through my crazy beautiful mind this morning:

What races will I run in 2020, if God allows me to run again? It has been almost 11 years since I last ran.

If God blesses me with the ability to run again, that means I could return to the workforce. Where would I work? Who would hire a 50 something guy who has not worked in almost 11 years, but has an incredible crazy beautiful story? Would I go on the speaking circuit? Would I look at working at a church or ministry of some kind? Would I work at a school or university? Would I be a Greeter at Walmart?

Yes, those are some of the crazy thoughts that go through my mind a lot of morning’s. I just want to be ready for whatever God has prepared for me. Even if that means never running another race or never being able to return to work, I will be obedient and thankful.

Have a wonderful and blessed day. ~OC

National Caregivers Month

November is National Caregivers Month. I truly believe caregivers should be celebrated everyday.

For the last 17.5 years, my beautiful bride has been my caregiver. She has made a lot of sacrifices during that time. Besides being my caregiver, she has been my health advocate, chauffeur and cheerleader. I definitely could add more titles to the list. Laura has taken on each of these roles without complaining. This crazy beautiful journey has been tough on her, but she has handled it like the champion she is. I never take her love, support and sacrifice for granted. I do my best to celebrate her whenever I can. I also try my best to make sure she takes care of herself.

Too many caregivers are forgotten during the health journey of a loved one. Everyone is quick to asked about the patient, but we can never forget about the caregivers. They are the real heroes. Caregivers continuously make sacrifices that nobody notices. They sometimes put their life on hold to take care of a loved one. Most do it without complaining. So many caregivers walk this journey alone. Most would never asked for help. So many caregivers get lost in the journey.

That is why I wanted my bride to share her part of the story in our book The Blessed Overcomer. I wanted caregivers to know they mattered. That they are not forgotten. Laura’s story needed to be told.

I pray if you know a caregiver, you will not forget about them. I believe their job is much harder than the patients. There is no playbook on how to be a caregiver. Here are a few things we can do to help out a caregiver:

Check on them. Reach out to a caregiver and see how they are doing. Let them know they matter.

Give them a break. Asked if you can sit with the patient. This is huge! Most caregivers will not asked for a break, but it is so important for their wellbeing to have those breaks.

Volunteer to drive the patient to appointments. Based on my health issues, I am no longer able to drive. Friends from our church have taken it upon themselves to create a ride schedule to take me to my many medical appointments. This has been a huge blessing for Laura and I.

These are just a few helpful things you can do to help out a caregiver. They may seem small, but can be life changing. So if you know a caregiver, take the time to see how you can help them navigate their crazy beautiful journey. ~OC

One Minute

As we reach the end of another week, I would encourage each of us to take one minute and think about the people who have helped us become the person we are today. The people who invested time into helping us grow as a person. If those individuals are still alive, I would encourage you to reach out to them and say thank you. For those life investors who have passed away, I would encourage you to spend some time reflecting on the lessons they taught you. ~OC

Good Morning God

Good morning God. Thank you for blessing me with another day. May my thoughts, words, attitude and actions reflect your presence in my life. Please bless and protect my family, friends and those around the world who are in need. Thank you for loving me on my worst day. Amen. ~OC

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